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Xbox One: German Data Protection Commissioner Brands Console A "Monitoring Device"

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Kinect 2.0, Microsoft, Personal data, Peter Schaar, Privacy, Xbox One

Xbox One: German Data Protection Commissioner Brands Console A "Monitoring Device"

Germany's Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Peter Schaar, has labelled the Xbox One a "monitoring device" in the German press, raising concerns about the console's approach to user privacy.

"The Xbox continuously records all sorts of personal information about me," Schaar told Spiegel.

"Reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. They are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. Whether they ever get deleted or not, the person concerned cannot influence that."

Given that the Xbox One's big Eye of Sauron Kinect has an always-on listening mode, making it ready for immediate vocal instruction, privacy concerns about the Xbone have been circulating for some time. But Schaar is not just anybody. An incumbent of the Office of the Federal Commissioner for the past decade, his public statements carry a large amount of weight on a governmental level.

However, Microsoft's Phil Harrison has recently assured consumers that this won't mean their data is up for grabs.

"Microsoft has very, very good policies around privacy. We're a leader in the world of privacy, I think you'll find," he said.

"We take it very seriously. We aren't using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all. We listen for the word 'Xbox on' and then switch on the machine, but we don't transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that."

But what about third-parties?

In any case, it's clear that the small print for the Xbox One (and indeed the next-gen version of Xbox LIVE) is going to require some pretty studious reading.

Add a comment3 comments
DivideByZero  May. 28, 2013 at 12:01

"Microsoft's Phil Harrison has recently assured consumers that this won't mean their data is up for grabs"

Yeah, because no one has ever been hacked before? No one could intercept packets...

FFS, big companies can't even keep our data safe on their "Secure" servers... what makes anyone think this is hard to get access to.

X10  May. 28, 2013 at 15:43

^^^ Agreed

ODB_69  May. 28, 2013 at 17:19

In b4 millions of Xbox users suddenly have kinect pictures online of them doing the knuckle shuffle blissfully unaware they are being recorded

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